Construction is down in many regions of the country. Long lines of job applicants are common. Yet even now, many young people looking for a job in construction think all they need are good references and maybe an on-site demonstration of their skills and knowledge to be a job foreman. This may have been true in the old days, but today, with so many rules and regulations—and hundreds of applicants vying for one or two openings—a well-constructed resume is becoming a necessity.
But what does a construction resume look like? What should you include? Some tips to help you get the job:
Include a summary. Summarize your core competencies, your construction skill sets, strengths and certifications. Keep this summary brief and on point with the job posting “must haves.”
List specific accomplishments. Include the size of value of the projects you were involved in. List specific time savings, material savings and budgetary savings you achieved. Do this for as many as three or four past jobs that apply or are similar to the job posting. List specific supervisory experience: “Supervised crews of 20 master carpenters, journeymen, drywallers, foundation and general laborers.” List specific costing duties: “Estimated project costs, performed take-offs and created project proposals."
Read and re-read the job posting. Answer every requirement, point by point. Your skills and knowledge should be presented in the order listed in the job posting. Be site specific. Each site has different requirements. Make sure your skills and experience apply to the site.
List certifications. Lead off with certifications that the job specifically requires. Then continue on with other certifications you may have. These may include plumbing, electrical, welding, etc.
List trade unions. Include any union and professional organizations you belong to. If you held senior positions or leadership posts in any of these organizations, include them as well.
Include education. List any degrees or specific classes you took that apply to the hard and soft skills needed for this particular job.
Separate hard/soft skills. Include separate bulleted lists for hard skills like those for sheet rock installers, roofers, concrete workers, or framers. If you’re applying for heavy construction, hard skills would come from crane or grader/dozer operator positions. Soft skills would include working with the public, supervising shops and site, and other administrative functions.
References. If the job posting asks for references up front, include two if you have them. These references should re-affirm your ability to perform the job duties and requirements listed in the job posting.
The old days of showing up at a construction site with a hard hat and tool belt are gone. These days, you need a resume that shows you're qualified and certified.